Monday, April 4, 2011

Tires and Avalanches

The morning was pretty slow as it's grey and raining. Uncle Charles came over for a visit. He wanted to check on the tire to the mower and discovered it had four bad leaks in it. Sigh, time for a new wheel. I am so hoping Dad will quit trying to operate the machinery. We can't afford to repair the damage he's doing to everything.

Uncle said last Friday when he was visiting he finally just got up and left because Dad couldn't carry on a conversation with him anymore.  I knew he didn't with me, but thought he could with Uncle. Apparently Dad's passed the point of being able to converse with anyone. I'd noticed that in the car, his comments are fewer and more quiet lately. He's getting to where he's almost mumbling to himself whenever he talks.

About 10:40 a.m. he came through the living room and told me he was feeling "vomity" and was going to lay down.  He took a nap and was up and ready for lunch by noon.

Ah, on feeding the elderly - you kind of have to take their tastes with a grain of salt. Before I left home this last trip in, I bought some fancy puddings I can get there but not here. Mom had previously loved a cheesecake with raspberry Jello topping that I got. The first day back I opened one and gave it to her; she took a small taste and shuddered with a lip-curling blech.  Hokay, from love to hate. Yesterday at supper, I scooped it out of its little package and put it in a fancy little pudding cup. She merrily scarfed it right up.

I've gotten a white board for communicating with Dad. I write his menu on it, and perhaps it helps him to remember what he's eating.  Since I've been living with them, he has gained enough weight back to not fit into some of the 30/32 pants we'd gotten for him. It's hard to find pants for lean tall people. You may find them lean, but they're always too short.  When he's being particularly deaf, I use the white board to communicate main ideas.

Tonight I decided that although dementia may start in a slow slide, it turns into avalanches. They sweep you away and cover you up until you can't breath. Yesterday I wondered how long it would be until my dad no longer knew I was his daughter. I can tell you.  One day.

Tonight before going to bed, he called me "Girly." I asked him what my name was. He didn't know. I said, "I'm your daughter, Gayle." He giggled.

Unless it was under the sheets to his wife, this man never giggled in his adult life.

You can't keep up with senility. It creeps. Then it washes you down a mountain side of emotion and buries you. You dig your way up through it to air and a couple of breaths. Without warning the slide shifts, and the avalanche begins anew.

1 comment:

madhyatmika said...

Heartbreaking. I'm so sorry. You described it so well though.

It must feel a little good though that you can see concrete signs that your presence is helpful. Losing weight with older people is notoriously hard to reverse.(Took me five minutes to come up with the word reverse.Doh!)

Hugs. You're doing an amazing job.